"Have you been to Atlanta?" people will now ask me. "Yes. Twice," I'll say. "What did you see?" they'll ask. "A hotel, a conference room and a hotel bar. And another bar that served cheeseburgers." And they always look disappointed. Because for reasonable reasons people assume it's a grand romantic trip to America's Peach Land! or however people think of Georgia when you're travelling. But it's not. It's a series of steps you're taking, all of which you want to go as smoothly as possible. You don't want a story. You don't want an adventure. You want to just do your conference, talk with work pals, get a reasonable amount of sleep, get home without any fuss.
What struck me on this go-round is how much time I spend leaving.
|Maybe Shane had the right idea. Just saddle up and bail.|
Friday morning I woke up at 6:00 Central Time to get ready for my day (I never bothered to adjust to East Coast time), as well as pack up, and do that triple-check of the room you kind of have to do so you don't leave your power supply or vital cord behind (or ditty bag with your toothbrush and all that, which I did last summer). Then I have to check-out (virtually, this time, from my phone). Then find a bell station to check my bags. Then go to my conference, then make my good-byes. Then putter around the hotel looking for a functioning ATM. Then find a store to buy gum so I can get change and I don't have to tip the bellhop $20 for 2 minutes of work. Then I get a cab. Then I fear for my life in the cab. Then the cabby gets mad because I want to use a credit card instead of paying cash (this was entirely new in Atlanta, and a dick move. What business traveler doesn't need a receipt?). Then the kiosk and bag check at the airport. Then whatever adventure awaits you in security. Then the train ride you take in the Atlanta airport. Then finding your gate. Then sitting. Then boarding. Then sitting. Then flying. Then sitting. Then de-planing (and all the shenanigans people get up to seemingly as if they've never gotten off a plane before). Then baggage claim. Then the shuttle. Then my car. Then the booth where I pay to leave parking. Then I drive home. Then I'm home. Then I have to unpack.
If I'm driving, yeah, it's a drive, but it's so many fewer steps, and so much more is under my direct control. Plus, audiobooks and scenery. And a lack of annoying seatmates. And way, way more legroom.
There absolutely was a time when I liked being A Guy On The Move. But, the romance of air travel died in the 1970's, and airports somehow became just places where snackfoods have a 250% markup. They're dull and depressing, and no one has ever invented a comfortable airport seat.
In short, I'm a bit over it.